A cash-strapped Russian general decides to meet his payroll by selling nukes to fractious Third World nations--while American SEALs travel to the Arctic to clamp down on the rather dangerous free market. Couch's first thriller was last year's Pressure Point. You can't fault him for trying. Colonel General Dmitri Borzov is doing whatever it takes to keep his unified command on Russia's permafrozen Kola Peninsula from collapsing the way the rest of Russia's armed forces have done. And he's taken the entrepreneurial route to his solution. The problem is that he's supposed to be dismantling his nuclear arms instead of modifying them to suit the needs of the tinpot dictators and fundamentalist madmen who have the petrodollars to go arms shopping. Fortunately for the free world, American intelligence analyst and amateur runner Steve Carter, who's been wondering how General Borzov has managed to keep his submarines running, spots the unusually busy traffic around Russia's Arctic ports and guesses what's up. But confirmation is needed from the CIA's mole on the Kola if the Russians are to be brought to heel. With a nod from the gutsy, decisive President, America's Special Operations Command cooks up a plan to airdrop a team of SEALs and an Estonian expatriate to contact the mole and get concrete proof. The mole, a pretty scientist in her 30s, is also the apple of General Borzov's eye. No psychological or mushy stuff. Lots of pep and some nifty new gadgets, including a stealthy non-nuclear sub.